It is not uncommon for a baby to experience minor injuries during delivery and fully recover from them later. However, some birth injuries stem from medical negligence and can have long-term, serious consequences like disabilities, or they can even cause death. While most of the responsibility falls on the doctor, there are steps that expecting parents can take to help prevent birth injuries.
Birth Injuries vs. Birth Defects
Before discussing birth injury prevention, it is essential to note the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect. They may seem similar, but the difference lies in their source and timing. A birth defect is usually the result of something that happened to the child while it was still in the womb. Birth defects typically present themselves in the first three months of pregnancy.
Some birth defects are purely genetic and out of your control, but there are other factors that contribute to the appearance of a birth defect. The use of drugs or alcohol and untreated infections may have grave consequences for a developing fetus or embryo.
Birth injuries are generally the result of something that happens during the birthing process or some factor relating to the birth timing or environment.
Most Common Birth Injuries
Some of the most common physical injuries that occur during childbirth are head trauma and brain bleeds. Babies are also at risk of experiencing oxygen deprivation that results in birth asphyxia.
Some lifelong disabilities that can result from birth injuries are cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and periventricular leukomalacia. Children may also be subject to intellectual impairments or seizure disorders stemming from their birth injury.
All of these birth injuries are usually preventable, so taking steps to choose a doctor you trust and taking prevention steps yourself is key to a successful, easy birth.
Following these tips can help reduce the risk of birth injury, although only some of the responsibility falls on the parents. If your child experienced a birth injury at the hands of a possibly negligent medical worker, an attorney can help determine if you are eligible for birth injury compensation in a medical malpractice case.
- Receive Prenatal Care
Each pregnancy and birth is unique, and it depends on the health and history of the parents. Prenatal care should involve routine checkups but also a deep dive into the maternal conditions that play a part in the health of a baby. If you are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy and have health concerns, there are maternal-fetal specialists that can look at options for reducing the risk for everyone involved.
- Avoid Premature and Delayed Birth
It is common knowledge that a premature birth brings its own set of trials and tribulations to the birth process and health of the infant. Premature infants usually have underdeveloped internal systems and have compromised immune systems. There are some options that can delay a premature birth until the child has a better chance at being born fully formed. Sometimes, premature birth is suggested; have a conversation with your doctor if you may deliver early.
A delayed birth is when labor lasts longer than 18 hours, and this long process can also increase the risk of birth injuries and complications.
- Watch for NICU Mistakes
The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is where infants are sent immediately following birth if there were any complications or health concerns found. Failure to quickly identify and treat problems with a child in the NICU can have grave consequences. A lot of medical malpractice suits focus on the care of these at-risk infants.
- Recognize Fetal Distress
Fetal distress can happen at any time throughout pregnancy, and regular monitoring and prenatal care can help prevent injuries based on this distress. There are many signs and symptoms of fetal distress that an expecting parent should watch for, like vaginal bleeding, cramping, and decreased fetal movement. Fetal distress can also occur during delivery, so the medical professionals on hand will need to measure many levels in the reproductive system.
About Leland Bengtson
As a journalist, Leland Bengtson dedicated most of his career to law reporting.
He aims to draw in the public and make people more interested in the field. He is active on multiple platforms to increase his outreach to the public.
Leland tirelessly covers all types of legal issues, but he has a personal preference for medical malpractice. This is mainly because he witnessed the implications of medical malpractice on a family member.